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October 2010
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Arum italicum: “Lords and Ladies”, also known as Cuckoo Pint

Lords and ladies belong to Arum genus and Italicum species. It is also known as Arum italicum ‘Pictum’, Cuckoo Pint and Italian Lords-and-Ladies. It is a tuberous perennial which grows up to a height of 30cm and can spread up to 20cm. It is a native of Britain. Its leaves are spear-shaped in spring and in autumn, red berries appear. It forms clumps. The leaves are large, glossy and grow on upright stems and are dark green with cream marbling color. The flowers are pale green and cream patches are around pencil-shaped spadix of tiny flowers. This spadix later in autumn develops to clustered berries which are initially green and then later turn to bright red in color. These plants need partial shade and grow in hardy zones. The soil must be moist and well-drained.

Growing conditions of Lords and Ladies:

• It is fully hardy to -28°C (USDA zone 5).
• It needs full sun to partial shade.
• It grows well in humus-rich, well-drained soil.
• It needs acidic soil and rich in organic material.

From bulbs:
• Separate each bulb and set them aside in a shaded area.
• Once the soil is ready by adding necessary organic matter, dig holes that are between 3 to 5 inches deep.
• Add bulb fertilizer to the bottom of the hole dug.
• Plant the Arum Italicum and carefully cover them with dirt.
• Water them weekly during the spring, summer and fall.

From seeds:
• Dampen a paper towel and place arum seeds on it and cover by folding or soak the seeds for 24hours.
• When the seeds swell, which is usually in four to five days, plant them.
• Use compost in the soil and plant them and water moderately.
• In a pot, use two to three seeds and push them into the soil 1/4th inch deep.
• The temperature should be around 70-75 degree F.
• The plant needs light, but not direct sunlight.
• Try keeping the pot in 6-8 hours of full light.
• Keep the soil of the pot moist.
• When the seedlings have grown of about 2-3 inches of height, plant them outside.
• Germination usually takes about 90 days.
• The plants should be divided in around May to June.

Care for Lords and Ladies

• Divide in early autumn.
• Arum Italicum needs plenty of sunshine.
• A sunny site produces the most flowers, but partial shade produces the biggest leaves.
• It grows well in humus-rich, well-drained soil.
• It needs acidic soil and rich in organic material.
• Water and feed it freely every 3 weeks from spring until mid-summer.
• If you want the leaves to persist through the winter plant it in sheltered position.

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